Why Should You Choose HO Scale?
Everyone has their favorite scale when it comes to model railroading, but for many hobbyists, HO scale is their #1 choice – and for good reason. HO scale is widely considered to be the most popular model railroad scale around the world.
Two of its most distinct advantages are its ability to fit into even the most space-conscious layouts, while boasting strong detail and realism in design. Here, we’ll cover some of the key advantages of HO scale.
1- Thanks to its popularity, HO scale manufacturers – and the products they offer – are extensive and widely available. When it comes to massive product selection both new and used, HO scale is your best bet. If you’re interested in learning more about some of the most prevalent HO train manufacturers and how they got started, check out this article we wrote.
2- Most railroad hobbyists appreciate the detail and realism HO scale provides. Particularly after World War II, model trains began to be seen as more than just toys for children. Instead, model railroad enthusiasts demanded products that strongly represented real trains. You get greater detail with HO scale versus N scale, which many folks consider a top benefit of HO.
3- It may not be the smallest scale, but HO is the perfect choice for space-conscious consumers. In fact, that’s a big part of what made HO scale so popular to begin with. Consumers were moving into smaller houses and apartments. The introduction of HO scale into the mainstream meant a smaller, more cost-effective alternative to the larger O scale.
4- HO scale is pretty easy to work with…especially if you don’t have the patience to work on the super small N scale (or the eyesight to see those very tiny details). After all, it’s a joke among hobbyists that “On30” translates into 30 years too old for N scale. I like to think of HO scale as a happy medium between the much larger O scale and the diminutive N scale.
5- A great choice for beginners and seasoned collectors alike, HO scale is available in a wide span of pricing to work with any budget. You can find vintage and new models at train shows, online, or from private sellers in prices that range from totally affordable to ones that will have your wife wanting a divorce when she sees how much you just paid 😉
6- If you enjoy reading industry publications, HO scale has a large audience – and well known magazines like Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman are very aware of this. Because HO scale has such a big following, you’ll easily find fresh articles on HO scale to enjoy.
7- Crave community? With its huge following and long history of popularity, there is an entire supportive collective of HO scale enthusiasts out there – online and likely, right in your local area. While this is true of the greater community of railroad enthusiasts as well, many of us will tell you we’re an active, lively, and ready to help group of folks who are enthusiastic about the hobby.
Need help deciding which era you should model? Here’s a helpful article, Popular Train Modeling Eras, courtesy of author Ryan Kunkle on The Spruce Crafts.
So, is HO scale the right choice for you? Only you can decide – there are certainly other scales to choose from to meet your unique needs and the vision you have. Learn more about some of the more common model railroad scales here.